NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A construction worker died Tuesday afternoon after falling from scaffolding at a work site on the 300 block of Interstate Drive, according to emergency officials.

Metro Police say the victim was 16 years old and was identified as Gustavo Enrique Ramirez of Springfield, Tennessee.

Police say Ramirez and his 18-year-old brother were on the scaffolding together. The brother reported that he had his back to Ramirez, heard a sound, then turned around to see his brother fall.

The scaffolding was 120 feet from the ground.

Ryan Breslin reports on a vigil honoring a 16-year-old who fell to his death off the scaffolding at a construction site.

Police said Ramirez was a part-time employee at Cortez Plastering. He was working on a new hotel project, police say.

There is no evidence of foul play.

Metro detectives did not find a safety harness on Ramirez or on the scaffolding.

A representative from the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration responded to the scene with police.

Over the course of the investigation, TOSHA officials will survey the scene and, review company procedures and protocols and try to interview both witnesses and company management.

TOSHA is also working to find out who employed Ramirez. 

The company who oversees the project, D.F. Chase, Inc. announced construction at the site has been temporarily put on pause. The company issued the following statement:

All of us at D.F. Chase, Inc. are deeply saddened over the death of Gustavo Enrique Ramirez. Our hearts go out to his family. At this time, we understand this to be an isolated and tragic event, and the first fatality we have experienced in our 33 years of doing business. We are doing all we can to support TOSHA and his employer in their investigation to understand what went wrong. While TOSHA approved work to resume at the site, we are temporarily stopping work as everyone processes this tragedy. – Dennis Gregory, President at D.F. Chase, Inc.

News4 also asked TOSHA the following questions regarding the incident.

Was Ramirez supposed to be restrained?

TOSHA does not comment on open inspections. In general terms, employees are not required to wear fall arrest systems when working on properly erected scaffolding, which includes an adequate guardrail system.

How could a 16 year old end up working on a construction site (was parental consent given?)?

TOSHA’s safety and health standards are written to protect all employees regardless of age. There is no rule or standard that establishes more stringent requirements for minors.

The Department’s Labor Standards Unit has opened an investigation into this incident. 16 year olds are permitted to work. While construction in general is not a prohibited occupation, certain jobs on a construction site may be prohibited, and the state will determine the circumstances of this case during its investigation.

Is there an incident report written up yet about what happened?

TOSHA’s inspection is ongoing. Fatal accident investigations often take four to six months to complete.

Has this company had violations in the past?

TOSHA’s investigation is in its earliest stages. The determination of who employed the victim has not been made at this time.

Check back to News4 for updates on this breaking news story.


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